So you already know how to continuation bet successfully. You also see your opponents c-betting with high frequency. How to defend against your opponent’s bet on the flop, when you are a preflop caller? Floating is an advanced play designed to counteract continuation bets.


Floating involves calling a continuation bet on the flop with the sole intention of stealing the pot on the turn by betting after your opponent checks.

Since players completely miss the flop the majority of the time, when your opponent makes a continuation bet, most of the time they will correctly assume that you missed as well, hoping that you will fold.

However, you know that the same applies to your opponent and when they make a c-bet on the flop, they will usually not have anything worth seeing a showdown with. You can exploit this by calling the flop bet and bluff-betting the turn, when it is checked to you.

As always, floating every time somebody continuation bets will lose you money in the long run. You definitely have to consider a bunch of factors first.

Number of opponents

Floating should be used exclusively when you are heads up on the flop. With more players in the pot, the preflop raiser will be less likely to continuation bet as a bluff as there is a higher probability that at least one player hit a piece of the flop.


You should avoid floating when you are out of position. It would involve calling the continuation bet on the flop, checking the turn, and betting the river after your opponent checked the turn. The river card may improve their hand and with no further betting rounds, they can call even with any sort of medium pairs.

Lots of aggressive fish love to float the flop out of position. You do not want to lose money like them, do you?

Opponent type

You should avoid using floating against very tight players that raise less than 10% of their hands preflop. Since their range is very strong, such players will often bet every street all the way to the showdown.

Opponent c-betting frequency

The higher the c-betting frequency, the more unlikely for your opponent is to have a good holding and the more effective floating will be. On the other hand, if your opponent rarely continuation bets (50% and less), when they do, they will usually have at least a decent hand or draw and floating them is pointless.

Opponent double barreling frequency

Some aggressive players are capable of both c-betting and double barreling with a high frequency. Since they rarely check the turn, floating them is not going to work very often, unless you plan to call the turn bet as well.

Always have a back-up plan

Although floating is definitely a bluffing technique, it is recommended that you have some sort of equity just in case your attempt fails and your opponent calls your bet on the turn.

You do not need to have many outs. Even one overcard is fine, especially when you also have a runner-runner flush or straight draw (a draw that requires both turn and river cards to complete). This way you still have a slight chance to win the pot after being called on the turn.

Conclusion on floating

Always keep your poker toolbox well stocked. Floating is a must have tool if you are going to become a winning player at small and medium stakes. Assess every situation individually, just do not try to float every continuation bet or good players will notice and exploit it.

More articles on specific poker plays:

 Check raise
 Continuation bet
 Double barreling
 Squeeze play
 Stealing blinds

Go back to the Online Poker Strategy.